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Firm: McMillan Long and Associates

Address: 25075 Old Banff Coach Road

Date of final plans: November 1965

Status: standing as built



Frank Gustave Swanson (1917–1990) was born in Edmonton on 11 April 1917 to a wealthy family involved in the concrete business. Swanson attended the University of Alberta where he worked for the student newspaper, The Gateway, and in 1937 graduated Bachelor of Arts. Following graduation he studied at the Columbia School of Journalism for a year, and in 1938 returned to Alberta, where he got a job with the Edmonton Journal. During his time at the U of A Swanson had been in the Canadian Officers' Training Corps, and in 1941 he was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant in the Calgary Tank Regiment. As a Captain, Swanson partook in the Invasion of Sicily in July 1943 and fought in Italy until late 1944. At that time he returned to England and attended the Staff College, Camberley. Swanson then rejoined his unit in Europe, before being transferred to the 2nd Canadian Armoured Brigade for the duration of the war.

At war's end, Swanson was hired by Southam as a war correspondent. Now a Major, he remained a commissioned officer during this time. One of his assignments was the Nuremberg Trials. In 1948 he finally returned to Canada where he became a political reporter for the Ottawa Citizen. In 1958 he became the paper's associate editor and in 1960 its editor. In 1962 he was appointed the publisher of the Calgary Herald. He held this post until his retirement in 1982, making him one of the country's longest-serving newspaper publishers. During his tenure, Swanson led the construction of the downtown printing plant in 1965 and the new headquarters on Memorial Drive in 1981.

On 2 December 1944, Swanson married Vera Edmonds Gowing (1916–2018) in England. Vera, who was from Shirley, Warwickshire, was at the time working as an ambulance driver. The couple had met after a bombing raid. Earlier in the war she had married, but her husband was killed less than a year after their wedding. During their life in Calgary, Vera was a prominent member of the city's arts community and in 2001 received the Order of Canada for her volunteer work. For decades she was involved with the CPO and helped get the funding for the Calgary Centre for the Performing Arts. She also founded the Calgary International Organ Festival and was a member of the Sir Winston Churchill Society. The couple had one son, David. Frank died on 6 March 1990 at age 72. Vera died on 4 April 2018, three days short of her 102nd birthday.

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